Gary Ezovski and Ronald Caniglia Advocate for Small Business Regulatory Reform

Each year the Rhode Island SBA District Director recognizes an individual or individuals who have made a positive contribution to the state’s small business community.  Gary Ezovski and Ronald Caniglia have done exactly that as advocates for regulatory reform.

In 2007 Ezovski, owner of Lincoln Environmental Properties in North Smithfield, was named chair of the Regulations Subcommittee of the Rhode Island Small Business Economic Summit.  Twenty years of experience guiding businesses, homeowners, and government agencies through environmental challenges made him a good fit for the committee leadership.

The focal point of discussion was making an effort to move the Regulatory Flexibility Act from paper concept to regulatory reality.  Though there was steely determination within the group to make a difference, after almost two years of trying to drive that issue forward frustration over the lack of action resulted in belief that futility was the only probable outcome.

In late 2009 however, Gary’s experience pursuing a building permit for a minor renovation of a commercial property gave rise to a new focus for the Regulations Subcommittee.  The building permit process in Rhode Island was identified as an impediment to economic development and an area of regulation that required discussion and change.

The process related to building permits, fire department permits and DOT curb cut approvals became the central focus of new committee discussions and actions.   To increase the strength of the effort the committee reached out to people with broad past and present experience in all of those processes.  Ronald Caniglia, owner of STAND Corporation in Warwick, volunteered.  His enthusiasm and commitment to the project led him to being named the committee’s vice chair.

Caniglia’s life long experience in building residential and commercial structures became extremely valuable to the committee’s work.  Since that time legislative and/or regulatory actions have been taken to reduce the time allowed for processing of building, fire and DOT permits.  While that in itself was encouraging to say the least, the pursuit of those issues has stimulated actions by legislators to support initiatives such as moving Rhode Island to a computerized statewide permitting system and a complete review of every regulation in the state.

As those matters developed, Gary and Ron emphasized that the committee’s target of getting Rhode Island government to move at the speed of business wasn’t to be achieved through a decline in public safety or reduced environmental protection.  Every expectation was that a better system would allow better code compliance through reduced waste and friction in the many systems that guide the development process.  The goal has constantly been to get Rhode Islanders to work on good projects in the hands of responsible developers.  The target continues to be toward achieving a system where “knowing a guy” isn’t necessary to get good projects in the ground and good people to work.  However, they realize there are no silver bullets to solve these economic challenges.

The scope of the committee’s work has expanded beyond the permit process into topics that have been recognized as those that stigmatize Rhode Island as a difficult place to do business.  Gary and Ron have consistently encouraged change in labor management issues like the “only in Rhode Island” requirement to mandate payment of wages on a weekly basis for a broad array of employees or the only state in the country to mandate celebration of Victory Day.

In July 2012, Ezovski was appointed to the SBA’s Region I Regulatory Fairness Board by Administrator Karen Mills.  In that capacity, he serves as a local resource for small businesses, trade groups and other entities to address regional concerns regarding federal regulatory enforcement and compliance issues.

For their demonstrated commitment to regulatory reform for the Rhode Island small business community, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present Gary Ezovski and Ronald Caniglia with the 2013 Rhode Island SBA District Director Award.

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